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Noise Complaints

Westminster City Council are currently running a review into busking in London. They say they only want to ban amplified busking in Leicester Square, but I don't trust them and nether should you.

I believe what they are attempting to do is fundamentally reduce the tourist businesses and hospitality sector in favour of the continued policy of allowing more residential development in central London turning the west end of London into a quiet backwater no tourists are going to want to come to.

Every time Westminster Council approve another residential development in the centre of London the end result is always the same. Eventually all the pubs clubs restaurants and hospitality business are forced to close down because because of late night noise and disturbance, then the empty hospitality businesses are in turn made into over priced apartments often purchased as investments with all the resulting loss of jobs and wages, and the cycle continues. 

The Mayor of London constantly says he is doing things to help improve the night time economy, but then proceeds to stop hospitality development such as the now abandoned sphere and the massive entertainment boat both refused planning permission in place of more residential development in the heart of tourist London. Where are the future jobs in London going to come from?

Banning more street entertainers in London is just the thin end of the wedge. The powers that be don't want a tourist driven London economy, so where is the future wealth of London going to come from?

The Oxford Street traders association have been constantly complaining of the low footfall in Oxford Street and yet WCC keep on allowing more residential developments in Oxford Street its self. This means that Oxford Street will soon be able to be designated a residential district massively restricting hospitality business opportunities. If you live and work anywhere in the greater London area you should be seriously concerned about future employment and lack of wage growth in the Capital. Plus the still growing number of American Candy shops or should we say money laundering business sanctioned by WCC.

Every international economic forum is daily down grading London's economic future. 

The most common form of complaint made against buskers is a noise complaint. The number of noise complaints has been increasing due to cheap portable PA systems being used to a level that people inside building close to the buskers find almost abusive. 

This problem is not new, noise complaints are the bread and butter of any environmental enforcement council department. The solution is the same as for any other noise complaint.

The person complaining takes a db meter, free on their phone, sets it to average, records the reading over a period of days or weeks, sets the screen recorder, submits it to the council and the council take action. I did my research over 6 months to get unequivocal evidence.

Or a council can easily install construction site db meters that will inform the buskers of their own levels in real time. They are cheap and are a legal requirement for construction sites so the council know how to use them. When I was a DJ we had in house ceiling mounted db meters with traffic lights telling us if we were to loud. Red for to loud, amber and green for OK. Simple and it works.

In New Orleans they set up a system of db levels for each street and road, lower levels for streets with no traffic, slightly higher for roads with traffic. It works well.

I am putting up a series of pages concerning the bad legal advice being dished out by councils to disabled buskers relating to noise levels.

Essentially there is no such thing as an enforceable noise complaint without a decibel meter reading as evidence.

Anyone can say they think a feather falling is to noisy, without a db level reading it cannot be enforced and no action should be taken against any busker without evidence.

If busking is legal, and it is, then is it reasonable to ask a disable busker to perform below the background noise level in the street?

Of course not, otherwise the busker could not be heard. So how much above the background noise level should the busker be without causing a nuisance?

There is in fact an answer to that question and a court will ask a council what that answer is. The answer is 10 db above background level above 24db from the complainants location. This is adjustable depending on circumstance but generally that's it. This is measured at the place of complaint. This means if there is a complaint about a disabled busker from a person living in an apartment, the db level should be measured from the inside of the apartment with the window open and closed (A) waited samples, to average, over time.

This is all explained on a phone db meter. It may sound complicated but if anyone has a problem come and see me and Ill help them. Disabled workers have no wish to be a nuisance, so help us to help you.

What they discovered in New Orleans was that in almost every case of a residential busker noise complaint that was measured inside the complainants apartment, it was never 10db above background level, so could not be counted as a valid complaint. As expected as soon as people were asked to submit evidence, the complaints virtually stopped. This will happen in central London once disabled working buskers have real data on their actual noise levels so can self adjust, which is what we as disabled workers want.

WCC are now conducting busker db level tests, including on me and that's a good thing because now WCC can tell the disabled buskers exactly how loud they are, so the disabled workers have real live data to enable them to adjust levels.

City Councils are not training security staff in how to use db meters and then giving buskers clear understandable db limits to adjust to. Its important that disabled workers don't blast music to everyone inside an office or shop trying to work, its not fare and just antisocial, but equally City Councils need to acknowledge that disabled people lawfully working as buskers is not only an important part of our social structure and a disabled persons right, but is also entertainment for tourists and potentially a real asset to many disabled people in moving into different kinds of work.

Disabled people have enough problems without City Councils adding to them with bad or inaccurate advice.

There is a report about complaints against buskers on Bankside in London that proved every single complaint was made fraudulently....Click Here

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